If you are missing a single tooth, you might view that gap in your smile as a mere inconvenience or a minor aesthetic flaw. However, that seemingly inconsequential space in your mouth can endanger your oral health; a missing tooth leads to bone deterioration,
gum tissue loss, shifting of your remaining teeth, and further tooth loss. It’s important to replace even a single missing tooth as soon as possible!
Single Tooth Replacement Options
There are two basic ways in which you may choose to replace a single missing tooth:
- A traditional fixed dental bridge consists of two parts: crowns, which are attached to the teeth next to the empty space (abutment teeth), and a pontic, which is suspended between the crowns. This type of restoration can prevent your
remaining teeth from drifting out of place and provide you with a strong bite. If you choose a porcelain bridge, you can expect it to look and feel natural in your mouth. Typically, dental bridges last for 10 years or longer.
- A dental implant is a small cylinder, usually made of titanium, that a dentist in Sarasota places within the jawbone during a minimally invasive surgery. It acts as a replacement for the root of the missing tooth. If you receive a
dental implant, the soft tissue around the surgical site will heal quickly, but your jaw will need more time to recover (usually three or four months). During this healing period, your bone will fuse with the implant through a process known as osseointegration.
Once their bond is nice and strong, Dr. Tindal will place a custom crown on top of the implant to replace the visible part of your missing tooth.
Which Option Is Better?
Although both fixed bridges and dental implants in Sarasota offer effective and long-lasting tooth replacement, we often recommend that our patients opt for the latter choice. Implants are superior to bridges in a number of ways:
- The bond that implants form with the jaw helps to prevent the bone from deteriorating.
- Placing a fixed bridge requires that the dentist prepare the abutment teeth by filing off a significant amount of enamel. In most cases, the dental implant procedure doesn’t require any alternations to your remaining natural teeth.
- Since implants replace both the crown and root of missing teeth, they tend to feel even more comfortable and natural than a bridge.
- Although placing and restoring dental implants takes longer than installing a fixed bridge, implants also last much longer. In fact, with proper care, dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime.
- Due to implants’ impressive longevity, they may present a better monetary value than bridges.
Contact Us to Learn More
Dr. Ben Tindal is a skilled prosthodontist in Sarasota who can replace your missing tooth and get your smile back to looking and functioning its best. If you would like to once again have a complete smile, contact our office to schedule a consultation.